Fishing For The Right Ramps

By Kurt Dove

After you launch your fishing boat try fishing around the ramp before you motor out onto the water.

Most anglers don't think much about casting their favorite lure immediately after launching their boat. Typically, they are trying to decide what spot they will motor to first for that initial cast. But wait ... don't crank up your engine yet ... you might be missing out on the golden opportunity to drop the trolling motor and start fishing right at the ramp!

Bass fishing is fantastic around boat ramps all year long and especially in the fall season.

Timing, Cover/Structure and Release Areas

First and foremost, anglers need to determine when is the best time to fish a particular ramp. Certainly you can’t fish the most popular ramp on the lake when boats are launching in and out constantly. Of course you don't want to be an obstacle for the folks utilizing the ramp,, and too much commotion can cause fish to become wary of bait offerings. Look for ramps that may be less utilized, or fish ramps during the times of day when there is less activity and commotion from other boaters. When ramps are busy, it is important to utilize other potential nearby fish holding areas like the marinas or close by points or bank cover.

The next key element, and probably the most important, is the fish holding potential of a ramp. An angler's ability to recognize and understand how to fish the different cover and structure of a ramp is critical to success. Docks are great fish holding cover on a ramp. I like to fish Optimum swimbaits and flip El Grande Lures hatch match sticks around and underneath these platforms. The fish use the docks for the shade they provide as well as the presence of bait fish due to the algae and plankton around the submerged areas of the dock.

Another obvious fish-holding cover is the rip rap used to protect the ramp area from foul weather. I like to fish the rip rap with crankbaits like the Ima Beast Hunter and heavy spinnerbaits looking for a reaction bite. Rip rap will often provide warmth for bass later in the fall and earlier in the winter when the sun shines on them. Bass will snuggle up beside the warm rocks waiting for the next feeding opportunity to swim by.

An often over looked structure around ramps is the where the ramp actually ends underneath the water. Here you may find debris and depth changes that fish like to use for sanctuary. I like to fish these areas with Carolina rigged and Texas rigged offerings to illicit a strike from an inactive fish.

The final element to ramp fishing success is tournament locations. Check the internet and find out which ramps have a significant amount of tournament events. These events are generally catch and release and the bass are often released right at the ramp. These 'fish release' areas are going to have bass that utilize the ramp and marina areas as a new home for a few days and can often provide excellent fishing success. I typically do well around these release areas a few days after the events take place, and I prefer to fish them during the week as these ramp locations are often very busy on the weekends.

Try dropping your trolling motor instead of firing up your outboard next time you launch your boat and enjoy some great fishing that ramps have to offer!